Juicing may be the new trend, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, fruit juice should not be given to babies during their first year of life. For the past sixteen years the AAP has recommended no fruit juice before the age of six months, but they have lengthened that time frame to one year based on growing obesity rates and concerns about dental health.
Ami Orr, M.D., pediatrician at Blanchard Valley Pediatrics, is in favor of the change. “I think the recommendation is great. Juice adds a huge amount of extra calories. When you give kids juice, you’re filling them up with a calorie-dense liquid that lacks nutrition. In my opinion, the less juice in people’s lives, the better,” says Dr. Orr.
Juice Guidelines for Older Children
The AAP states that small amounts of juice in moderation are okay for older children, but absolutely unnecessary for children under one. In addition, the Academy suggests sticking to 100 percent fruit juice for older children with the following limits based on age:
For toddlers ages 1-3, intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 oz. daily
For children age 4-6, fruit juice should be restricted to 4-6 oz. daily
For children ages 7-18, juice intake should be limited to 8 oz. or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
Focus on Whole Fruits and Veggies
Both the AAP and Dr. Orr encourage families and children to eat whole and unprocessed fruits. For those concerned about the cost and short shelf life of fresh fruit Orr suggests buying frozen fruit and veggies in re-sealable bags. “You can defrost just what you need and save the rest,” she explains. Fresh fruit will provide your child with dietary fiber, which is often lacking in the American diet. So, skip the juice section during your next trip to the grocery store and stock up on frozen fruits and veggies to instill healthy eating habits.
Ami Orr, MD, is a local pediatrician at Blanchard Valley Pediatrics. The office is located at 1818 Chapel Hill Drive, Suite D, in Findlay and can be reached by calling 419-424-1922.